Radio “Svoboda” is step-by-step forced to leave Tajikistan

Only 7 of 9 employees of the Tajik service of radio “Svoboda” extended their accreditation. 11 employees have been waiting for the decision of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Tajikistan for a long time. The president of radio “Svoboda” came out against the Tajik authorities.

Today, November 1, the number of employees of Tajik radio “Svoboda”, accredited by the Tajik MFA, has decreased by another 2 people. To numerous inquiries from the leadership of radio “Svoboda” to extend the accreditation of its employees in Tajikistan, the MFA gave permission only to 7 of 9. Previously, 6 employees of Tajik office were denied accreditation. In general, 11 employees of radio “Svoboda” in Tajikistan are waiting for work permits, including the acting head of the Tajik bureau.

The president of radio “Free Europe / Radio Liberty” Jamie Fly sent the letter to Tajik Minister of Foreign Affairs Sirodjiddin Mukhriddin and criticized the MFA’s decision concerning partially extending the accreditation of the employees of radio “Svoboda” for a short time.

“Instead of solving our problems, your Ministry responded to our repeated requests for accreditation of our journalists only yesterday, and only with partial approvals that do not recognize the fundamental right of our journalists to work,” Jamie Fly writes in his letter, the text of which is posted on the website of the Tajik service of radio “Svoboda”.

In his letter, Jamie Fly also stated that “Free Europe / Radio Liberty” “would not give in to the pressure on reports about Tajikistan and abroad”.

The report notes that the president of radio “Svoboda” urges the Tajik MFA to immediately accredit all journalists of radio “Svoboda” and allow them to do their work.

We will remind that earlier the National Association of Independent Media of Tajikistan and the Media Council of Tajikistan spoke in defense of the Tajik service of radio “Svoboda”, which expressed their concern about the current situation regarding the accreditation of correspondents of radio “Svoboda” at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Tajikistan, and they called on the authorities not to use the mechanism of accreditation of foreign media journalists as an instrument to restrict freedom of speech in the country.

The USA Congress, in turn, sent a letter addressed to Tajik President Emomali Rahmon, in which it expressed concern about reports of harassment, threats and denial of accreditation of journalists from the Tajik Bureau of RFE / RL (Radio “Ozodi”).

The letter, signed by the representative of democrats Adam B. Schiff and the representative of republicans Steve Chabot, says that the USA Congress, which sponsors Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty and advocates for the development of a free and independent press, is concerned about the ongoing a situation that “could undermine USA-Tajikistan relations and hit at the image of the last one”.

According to experts, this approach of the Tajik authorities to the office of radio “Svoboda” in Dushanbe is justified by the fact that today it is the only media that openly covers the problems of the people in Tajikistan. “There are practically no independent media in Tajikistan; many of them have closed down. And the rest, under pressure and blocking, for their own safety, have refused to cover the pressing problems of Tajik society,” said an expert from Tajikistan on condition of anonymity. “It is clear that the pressure will increase, because next year in the country will be parliamentary, and after them the presidential elections. The population of Tajikistan today is brought to such a state that the authorities are afraid of any social activity and open discontent. It is precisely with this that all the attempts of the authorities to limit the activities of independent media to the maximum extent possible so that the country’s population cannot receive reliable information about the real situation and total corruption in the country at all levels.”

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